Exclusion of Buddhist Temples From National Parks Demanded

January 15, 2007

Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Korean Times


Seoul, South Korea -- The dispute over entrance charges to Buddhist temples in national parks is intensifying. The head of those temples issued a statement Saturday asking the government to exclude temples from the parks. The move was touched off by the difficulty of collecting admission fees to the temples since the government abolished admission charges at 19 national parks on Jan. 1 this year.

The scrapped 1,600 won fee, collected at the entrance of national parks, included admission charges to temples in the parks. The old practice made it compulsory for all visitors to pay the admission charges to both park and temple, no matter where they were heading; park, temple or both. But, many people didn’t know that and believed that entrance to the parks had became free of charge.

That’s why a lot of bickering is taking place at the entrances of parks nowadays between visitors and fee collectors. It is a result of a hasty move by the government to abolish the charge without sufficient discussion with temples. It was September last year when the government decided to do away with entrance fees to national parks at the beginning of 2007. But, it failed to reach an agreement with temples on the way of charging for temple admission separately.